In an effort to help new members get and stay connected to the UUMAN community, I’ve always thought it necessary to have an ongoing educational curriculum that helps the new member understand UUMAN and its mission more deeply. Any such curriculum should also help explain Unitarian Universalism in broader terms and how UUMAN relates to the denomination as a whole.
Currently, our UU101 new members orientation does a wonderful job of getting our new members on that path. But what’s next? How can we take our new members farther down that path?
I’ve always thought that I’d have to write such a curriculum myself, but when would I ever find the time? I’ve never written curricula before. While taking a class at the online UU Leadership Institute (www.uuinstitute.org), our instructor informed me that the curriculum that I was hoping to create already exists. Apparently other ministers and Membership Committees felt the same need. (Courses at the UU Institute are actually an incredible bargain. Most courses have excellent content, are convenient to use and are surprisingly affordable. Most courses cost as little as $30.)
The First Unitarian Church of Dallas has developed, and is continuing to develop, a comprehensive and expanding faith development curriculum that encompasses, among other things, the post-UU101 topics that I was looking to create.
In its entirety, this faith development curriculum is called “Faith Forward: From Visitor to Leader” and UUMAN has purchased the first component of this curriculum entitled the “Inquirers Series.”
The sessions of the Inquires Series include the following:
Session 1: Q&A with the Minister
Session 2: Unitarian Universalist History, Principles and Sources
Session 3: Campus Tour and Orientation
Session 4: Faith Development for Children and Adults
Session 5: Worship and Liturgical Year
Session 6: Social Action and Community Service
Session 7: Pastoral Care and Small Groups
Session 8: Membership 101 and Congregational Life
Each session is approximately 1 ½ hours in length. Faith Forward also has other components/sessions that explore many of these topics more deeply and UUMAN may look at purchasing those components in the future.
As you may notice, many of the sessions cover items that are currently part of our UU101 curriculum. To think about membership more comprehensively, and to encourage our new members to participate in an ongoing program of faith development, we will begin using the Faith Forward curriculum as our path to membership. We will be customizing the sessions to insure that all the necessary materials covered in UU101 will now be made available via the Faith Forward Inquirers Series sessions.
Faith Forward will kickoff an exciting new period of faith development at UUMAN. We will be rolling out the Inquirers Series later this church year and I would hope along with potential new members, some of our not-so-new members will attend the sessions as a refresher orientation.
For more information regarding Faith Forward, please contact Dave Hudson at email@example.com.